Several Florida lawmakers are calling on the state Senate to deny confirmation of Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo over a disagreement he had with a state lawmaker over wearing a mask.
Ladapo reportedly put on a face covering during a meeting he had with Democratic Sen. Tina Polsky, who was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in August.
According to the CDC, cancer patients are at an increased risk from Covid-19.
While she did not disclose her breast cancer diagnosis, she told Ladapo she had a serious medical condition. He declined to wear the mask, offering to go outside instead. She reportedly didn’t want to sit on metal picnic tables in the heat, however.
Ladapo was “very smug” and responded with “that’s OK” when Polsky told him she had a serious medical condition and didn’t feel comfortable speaking to him without a mask. As Ladapo was leaving, she said, he told her, “Sometimes I try to reason with unreasonable people for fun.” (Florida Politics)
This was either a political stunt, or an object lesson in how mask mania increases risky behavior.— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) October 24, 2021
Outdoors is by definition 100% ventilated, and massively -- nearly infinitely -- lower risk than masked indoor social interaction. https://t.co/BjZkdPx9zW pic.twitter.com/Ta14QeHfwy
Health Department spokesperson Weesam Khoury denied that Ladapo said he tries "to reason with unreasonable people for fun," adding that she and the state's top health official “are saddened to hear about Sen. Polsky’s recent diagnosis and wish her well," according to Florida Politics.
Nevertheless, several lawmakers criticized Ladapo, with Republican Senate President Wilton Simpson calling his actions “disappointing.”
“[I]t shouldn’t take a cancer diagnosis for people to respect each other’s level of comfort with social interactions during a pandemic,” Simpson wrote in a memo to senators over the weekend.
Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book and others called the interaction “unacceptable.”
.@TinaPolsky has a right to be safe @ work, as all Floridians do. The Surgeon General’s actions call into serious question his ability to advise our state on public health policy (as well as his ability to simply be a decent, compassionate human being).— Lauren Book (@LeaderBookFL) October 23, 2021
.@FLSurgeonGen was asked to leave Senator @TinaPolsky’s office for refusing to wear a mask in her presence even after being informed of her recent breast cancer diagnosis.— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) October 23, 2021
Totally classless. Totally unacceptable. Totally par for the course in @GovRonDeSantis’ administration. https://t.co/f0YjvpsiCG
Some Republicans pushed back on the criticism of Ladapo, however.
SHAME on Simping Senator @WiltonSimpson for taking sides with leftist nutjob @TinaPolsky against our great pro-freedom Florida Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo!— Rep. Anthony Sabatini (@AnthonySabatini) October 24, 2021
Pro-Tip for you Wilton: don’t attack our Governor’s appointees to simp for radical Leftists!https://t.co/Jg5lVwicVY pic.twitter.com/nTRmq16l03
Others pointed out Polsky's apparent hypocrisy on the issue.
She seems very consistent…. https://t.co/OTE0HZ01Qk— S R (@s22bos21) October 24, 2021